Who Will Be The Next Permanent Manager of Tottenham?
Following defeat to Manchester City in Sunday’s League Cup final, Tottenham’s 13-year wait for silverware goes on.
Quite why Spurs chairman Daniel Levy felt the need to sack Jose Mourinho in the week of a cup final continues to be the subject of speculation, but the Spurs board look set to bide their time before making their next permanent managerial appointment.
And that would appear to be a wise approach, for the previous sacking of Mauricio Pochettino and hasty appointment of Mourinho as his successor now seems a rushed decision which failed to work out for the club.
Remarkably, 29-year-old former Spurs player Ryan Mason will steer the team towards the finish line but is unlikely to be in the frame for the permanent position, unless he defies odds of 8/1 to lead Tottenham to a top-four finish in the final five games of the Premier League season.
Assuming Mason is just manning the ship for now, who will Spurs turn to when they come to appoint a new manager this summer?
Next Spurs Manager Odds
|Nuno Espirito Santo||5/1|
Maurizio Sarri is the bookmakers’ favourite to get the job, followed by Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo – although his side’s 4-0 thumping at home to West Ham on Sunday will not have done his chances any favours.
In his post-match interview following the 1-0 defeat to Man City at Wembley, Mason claimed Tottenham were years away from competing for trophies at the same rate as City, who have now won the League Cup four times in a row.
Former Spurs forward Teddy Sheringham – who had managerial spells at Stevenage and Indian side ATK – believes the volatile nature of football management these days makes it difficult for any boss to implement a plan and stick around long enough to see it bear fruit.
“I understand what Ryan Mason is saying but you have to earn the right to have a managerial position for longer than two years,” he told Gambling.com.
“You’ve got to be very fortunate. First of all, you’ve got to get players in that will fit in straight away and then your way of thinking has to be engrained on the players and the new players that come in after that.
“It’s very difficult, you’ve got to have a real run of luck with injuries when you first come in to that managerial period.
“Pep didn’t hit the ground running when he came to Man City – it takes a while to implement your structure and get everybody at the club to conform to it, it’s tough going, and I take my hat off to Pep because he stuck at it and he’s done a fantastic job, he’s raised the bar for everyone else in England and he is what everyone else is aspiring to.”
Given Mourinho’s unquestionable record of winning trophies in European football, Levy raised a few eyebrows when sacking him six days before the League Cup final, but Sheringham wasn’t one of those baffled by the move.
He said: “I wasn’t surprised by the decision, especially when you hear the little murmurs from behind the scenes suggesting it was more about money, that if they got in to Europe they would find it harder to sack him because it would cost them even more money.
“But ultimately they’ve made the decision because they’ve felt he’s not the man to take Spurs forward. I’m not surprised by the situation, there’s been a lot of grumblings from the Tottenham fans.
“For a manager who has won so much, you would have thought he’d have gotten applauded into the club when he first came, but that was never the case. It just never felt like the right fit.
“There was a little spell where Jose’s light was shining again but it soon dimmed out and the Spurs fans were quite understanding that it wasn’t working.”
Perhaps the ideology of the Spurs support is actually holding the club back from being more pragmatic, but Sheringham believes it is possible to win trophies in the right way if you have the right leadership.
“It’s a tricky situation, because the Tottenham fans have a good idea of how they want their team to play,” he said. “They’ve always had fantastic players on show, they’ve never been the type of club to grind out matches and win games 1-0, that’s not the Tottenham way.
“Maybe they’ll have to change that if they want to win something – everyone laughs at ‘The Tottenham Way’ which hasn’t won anything in however many years – but you’ve got to find a way of performing, exciting the fans, taking the game to the opposition and hopefully winning trophies in that mould.
“It’s very hard to get that whole package. Many managers have tried along the way. Pochettino was very close but it wasn’t enough. It’s all well and good having flair but you’ve got to win games and trophies as well.”
The Right Candidate?
So of the options on the table right now, who would club legend Sheringham choose to try and take Spurs back to the top table of English football?
“If I had the pick of the bunch and Tottenham were ready to go out and spend big money, which I presume they will, then I would go and break the bank for Brendan Rodgers,” said Sheringham, who scored 98 goals in 197 appearances for Spurs.
“I think he’s done an outstanding job at the different clubs he’s been at. He knows the Premier League very well, he knows his system and how he wants the game to be played. He takes the game to the opposition, he doesn’t wait to capitalise on other peoples’ mistakes and he likes to control the game a bit like how Pep Guardiola does.
“Given the funds that were available for Jose Mourinho, if Rodgers was backed with the same sort of money then I think he would do a fantastic job.”
That is all well and good, but with Rodgers currently riding high and looking increasingly likely to bring Champions League football back to Leicester City, would the former Liverpool and Celtic boss be willing to take on the Tottenham job if they don’t finish in the top four too?
“In football, you like to think that people are ambitious and want to get to that next level,” said Sheringham. “You never know how far you’ll get in football until you take that leap when someone gives you a chance.
“If Rodgers was looking at both clubs and thought about which one he’d rather be at – Leicester or Tottenham – you never know, he might love the opportunity and might feel the love from the Spurs board.
“Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener, but if he looks at both clubs side-by-side and asks himself which club is the bigger, what would he tell himself?
“Leicester have moved up over the past number of years, they’ve done better than Tottenham in recent seasons – they’re becoming a big club – but maybe Tottenham is still a bigger club. I would say it’s a bigger club and that Rodgers could go on and do bigger and better things but we don’t know what he thinks.”
Top 4 Chase
If Spurs – currently five points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea – were able to sneak into the top four in the closing stages of the season it could make the decision easier for Rodgers should Levy come calling.
But with the Premier League’s youngest ever manager at the helm, the odds are stacked against Mason and Tottenham, though it’s not totally out of the question according to Sheringham.
“Getting over the line is getting the team back into the Champions League, but with five games left they really need to grind out some results,” he said.
“If Mason shows some resilience, picks the right team and feeds the right information into the players to gain their respect then maybe – it’s a big moment of the season for Tottenham now.
“The players have to dig deep and the manager has to find something. He’s a young manager, what a position to be put in, I really can’t understand what’s gone on for Spurs to put a 29-year-old in charge but they must think an awful lot of him. So let’s see if he can respond to that.”
Interestingly, Tottenham travel to Leicester on the final day of the season – what a showdown that could prove to be should Spurs’ supposed interest in Rodgers come to light in the intervening weeks.
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